— By Gretchen Shoemaker
I loved veggies as a kid, and so did my husband. So it baffles me that we managed to have three kids who think green is a dirty word. I, like so many other parents, find myself looking for ways to either hide veggies in more appealing food or make them look so magical and fun no child can possibly resist.
My latest acquisition in the quest to make vegetables acceptable food is the Zyliss® Spiralizer. This is not the first time I have purchased a gadget that promises to turn my potatoes into spaghetti and my squash to ribbons. I find, though, that the devices I already have require a lot of strength to push a vegetable through and I am always left with strange little mushroom shaped ends. My hope with the Spiralizer is that it would be easier to use with a little less clean-up. The instructions are simple enough. One blade makes ribbons and the other makes spirals. It is recommended that I cut off the ends so my veggie can rest flat against the blade and the pusher. All I have to do to get spirals of goodness is twist and push.
My first victim was a cucumber. I cut off the ends, popped the whole thing into the holder, and proceeded to squeeze and push my way to curly goodness. Almost. The threads of the pusher and holder must align in order for the Spiralizer to work. Oops. A few cuts and I now have chunks of cucumber short enough to fit under the threads. It took a minute to find a comfortable grip where I could both squeeze the holder tight and turn the pusher, but once I got it I was soon turning out a long cucumber ribbon. When I got to the end of the cucumber, all I had left was a thin little slice. My hands were a little sore from the process, but my inner child was gleeful. On to the next veggie!
In my humble opinion, the potato is the ultimate test. If I can’t make curly fries, what’s the point?! Remembering the lessons of the cucumber, I chose a potato small enough to fit comfortably in the holder without blocking the threads or being too wide for me to squeeze the holder tight around the pusher. My spud at the ready, I first flipped the blade over to the shredder to make potato spaghetti. Chuckling to myself at the thought of serving my children veggie spaghetti noodles, I dropped the potato in the holder and got to work. I struggled a bit to find the a grip that was comfortable, but soon had what I was looking for; long thin strings of potato that would look equally fabulous as a side with cheeseburgers as it would covered in marinara sauce. Excellent! And Ow! My hands smarted even more. But by now I am thoroughly amused by my creation. No turning back! On to the next victim… err… veggie.
My strength waning but my determination rising, I pulled out the bag of carrots. I admit a small amount of fear as I chose a nice fat one. Carrots are much harder than cucumbers or even potatoes. Would I have strength enough in my hands to be successful? I prepped my tuber and flipped back to the ribbon blade on the Spiralizer. I braced myself for the struggle and began turning the pusher. To my surprise, the carrot was the easiest to turn. Soon I had perfectly adorable little carrot spirals. I was giddy! The little spirals were bouncy and cute. I wanted to play with them as much as I wanted to eat them. They would look great in a salad, mixed in with spiral pasta, or even just as a regular serving of carrots, but bouncy and fun.
Aside from making my hands a bit sore, the Spiralizer is fun and easy to use. Its small size means there is nothing to set up ahead of time and it fits nicely in the dishwasher for clean-up. Making a large dish of spiral pasta could be a bit tedious, but I could easily shred one or two veggies to enhance a pasta dish or a salad. The kids got to inspect my creations when I finished. They enjoyed playing with the spirals… and ate them! My daughter thought she was being sly as her stealthy fingers reached for the carrots, but I saw, and I couldn’t be happier.